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Read in 10 mins
March 13, 2020
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Akshay ChopraFounder - We R Stupid
brown sugar vs white sugar

Whenever you visit a coffee shop, you are commonly offered three options as sweeteners, i.e. white sugar, brown sugar or zero-calorie artificial sweeteners. So what’s the difference between brown sugar vs white sugar.

brown sugar vs white sugar

However, over the years it’s become a common scenario today to see people in a coffee shop asking for brown sugar instead of white sugar. People compare brown sugar vs white sugar. But if you ask them why are they doing it, the answer is without even a thought, ‘it’s healthy’.

Over the years, certain words have somehow been associated with health. Whenever a person hears such words in relation to food, it automatically triggers a mental setup which links it to being healthy. For e.g. the words like green, brown, fresh, herbal, natural, etc. which otherwise have no meaning or regulation, but somehow they indicate that the ingredients are better and healthier than the other products which don’t mention such words.

One such famous colour is “Brown”. Somehow, anything which has brown attached to it has the power to trigger healthy thoughts in mind. Be it brown bread, brown rice or brown sugar. Though all of these are myths and are no better than their whiter counterparts, and in fact may be worse, we will today discuss brown sugar vs white sugar.

Till some years back, brown sugar as an option was unheard of in a coffee shop. It was either white sugar or no sugar. But recently, brown sugar has arrived as another option, which even the café owners claim to be better than white sugar.

The answer is “No”, brown sugar is not healthier than white sugar. If you check the difference between brown sugar vs white sugar then, brown sugar is every way is simply white sugar, mixed with molasses. In normal cases, molasses are separated from the sugar cane plant, while producing sugar. So, in simple terms, brown sugar is simply white sugar which is not fully refined. Raw sugar is also brown in colour, and forms when the juice of sugar cane evaporates, but people prefer granular white sugar, with added molasses to make it brown.

Sugar is created from tropical sugarcane plants, which are crushed and their juice is extracted. This juice is then boiled and thrown into a spinning centrifuge to crystalize. These crystals have a light brown colour and are sold as ‘raw sugar’.

brown sugar vs white sugar

Manufacturers spin that in a centrifuge to remove the molasses and produce white sugar. Brown sugar can come in various shades of brown. More the molasses, the darker will be the brown colour. Now, molasses are added back to white sugar to make brown sugar, which has a specific reason. Brown sugar holds more moisture because of the molasses and is a useful product in baking.

Now, before you draw out your swords over the micronutrient contents of brown sugar vs white sugar, please understand that a tiny bit of micronutrients doesn’t make the food healthier. Calorie wise, it remains the same. For e.g. the molasse is a source of potassium, calcium, B-Vitamins, magnesium, etc. But the quantity is too low to make any visible change. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, brown sugar contains about 17 kilocalories per teaspoon, compared with 16 kilocalories per teaspoon for white sugar.

To make a difference, overall sugar intake needs to be controlled. Changing the colour or form doesn’t make a difference. All the health complications linked with consumption of excess sugar like obesity, diabetes, etc. are the same with white and brown sugar.

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